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Royal Albert Hall helps fill UK technical production skills gap

Royal Albert Hall helps fill UK technical production skills gap

UK – New research released by the Royal Albert Hall has revealed that less than a third (29 per cent) of schools in the UK offer lessons in technical production. This is despite one in five (21 per cent) students identifying it as an area that they would be interested in pursuing as a career.

The gap in supply and demand is particularly stark in London. More than a quarter of students (27 per cent) in the capital chose technical production as a subject they would like to follow beyond school, but only 32 per cent of schools offer lessons in the trade.

To help address the issue, the Royal Albert Hall has partnered with the Croydon-based BRIT School to offer budding technicians the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on work experience.

The famous South London performing arts school is well-known for churning out superstars of stage and screen such as Adele, Jessie J, Amy Winehouse and Rizzle Kicks, but many choose work behind the mixing desk to land careers in lighting and sound production.

The Hall has a diverse programme of work to nurture talent from all backgrounds, and the coveted two-week placement – now in its third year – is open to students on the BRIT School’s Technical Theatre Arts course, providing a route into the industry for those seeking an off-stage career in the arts.

Head of production and technical at the Hall, Ollie Jeffery, emphasised the importance of access to hands-on experience within the arts industry: “This placement is but one of the opportunities that exists at the Hall for those looking to pursue a technical career in the arts. Our apprenticeship scheme, which launched in 2016, gives those 16 and older hands-on training in a variety of important technical skills, including lighting, sound and rigging and is preparation for future work.”

This partnership and the Apprenticeship Scheme provide opportunities for students to secure full time work at the Hall. Jed Brook completed the placement in 2017 and is now a lighting technician, while another BRIT School student, Josh Slade, is now the Hall’s first ever rigging apprentice.

“The placement has been invaluable and was the perfect route into the industry – I’m delighted to have landed my dream job as a lighting technician,” said Jed Brook. “I’ve been able to make some great contacts, meeting some of the best artists and designers in the business, and am building the skills I’ll need for the rest of my career.”

The placement isn’t for the faint-hearted, as the students use their knowledge and skills to bring a range of events to life. This year they worked on some of the Hall’s biggest productions – including the Olivier Awards and the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts – as well as a host of events across smaller spaces, such as the venue’s Elgar Room.

“We at the BRIT School are incredibly grateful to the Royal Albert Hall for their continued support and dedication to the education of the next generation of technical theatre professionals. We are excited to move forward together, ensuring that we are at the forefront of entry level technical theatre education in the UK” said Olivia Chew, director of technical theatre and production at the BRIT School.

The Royal Albert Hall Apprenticeship Scheme is generously supported by the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation.

27th April 2018

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